Pick a person, any person, with whom you have a relationship. It can be a boss, co-worker, lover, friend, neighbor … whomever. Now ask yourself “what is my default sentiment toward that person?” Do you trust them? Do you think they trust you? When they speak to you, are they trying to get a dig in or extract a concession? Or are they trying to make your life better? What is the difference between what they intend and what you perceive? Sentiment.
In any relationship we have an internal meter that points toward either negative or positive sentiment as our default. Negative sentiment sets us up to perceive interactions as insulting, manipulative, condescending, etc. even when the person we interact has positive intent. When in this mode even asking a simple question can light us up emotionally. Positive sentiment is obviously the opposite. When in this mode, a person has relational equity so we forgive or overlook and assume the best.
Activity: Imagine a sentiment meter related to your spouse (how they view you) and devise a plan to move it toward the positive side. Consider small, daily, obvious actions you can commit to for a long term and put them into practice. Then take note of how your partner responds.